13.03.2008 Health

Malaria-Free Future Campaign Launched

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Ghana Malaria Advocacy campaign has been launched in Accra yesterday with a call on the National Malaria Control Programme (NACP) and other stakeholders to make its policies known to leaders to help combat malaria disease.

Dr Gladys Ashitey who made the call when she launched the campaign said there were numerous policies and guidelines for the implementation of malaria control programmes  and it was the duty of every activist in malaria control to be fully abreast with such policies to help facilitate their implementation.

The policies included the National Drug Policy the Integrated Malaria Vector Control Policy and the Malaria in Pregnancy Policy.

Dr Ashitey said through the Act of Parliament, Act 445 of the 1992 constitution had prescribed the use of 1 percent of the District Assemblies Common Fund for malaria control initiatives by District Assemblies.

'We need to increase awareness of the malaria and its impact on our society among decision makers at all levels. Through advocacy we can also ensure the availability of all necessary resources and commodities for fighting malaria.' Malaria Advocacy programme is a campaign programme with a global call to action for a malaria-free future. The campaign has recorded voices from civil society, religious leaders, medical practitioners, traditional leaders, politicians and celebrities to amplify the call for malaria-free future.

The campaign, jointly organised by NMCP and John Hopkins University Centre for Communiation Programmes is aimed at ensuring malaria-free future through co-ordinated national and district level advocacy efforts to support proven control strategies and research and development.

The four key strategic objectives of the campaign are mobilising leadership in government and civil society, increasing district level advocacy, policy dissemination and reducing barriers to policy implementation and advocating for increased funding in public and private sectors.

Dr Ashitey said about 3 million cases of malaria are registered in the public health care facilities annually in Ghana whilst about 14 percent of all recorded deaths in the country was attributed to malaria.

She noted that about 61 percent of under-five children admission and eight percent of pregnant women whilst 18 per cent of all under five deaths and nine per cent of maternal death were cause by malaria.

'In view of this scenario, we are faced with the critical challenge of achieving the status of a nation in which malaria would no longer be a major cause of mortality and no longer a barrier to social and economic development and growth' , she added.

Dr Ashitey called on corporate bodies to be on board and live up to their corporate social responsibilities by providing adequate resources to support malaria control at the work place.

Dr Elias Sory Director-General of the Ghana Health Service in a speech read for him said in spite of the steady progress made over the years, malaria continued to have negative impact on the health status in Ghana and remained a major cause of poverty low productivity. He identified an open war as the only solution to enable health and non-health sectors to become active warriors in the fight against malaria and urged all hands to be on deck.

Mr Emmanuel Fiagbey Country Director of John Hopkins University/Center for Communication Programmes said over 40 personalities have become voices for malaria-free future for Ghana to promote knowledge of key concepts, techniques and practices in malaria advocoacy.

Mr Paul Psychas Coordinator of President Bush Malaria Initiative of USAID pledged more resources to fight malaria, adding the disbursement had began for the 17 million dollars from the Bush malaria foundation for early stage programmes.

Ms Rosemary Ardayfio a deputy news editor of the Daily Graphic who is the spokes person of the Ghana Media Advocacy Network said the media would ensure accurate and balanced reportage to help project the aims and objectives of the campaign.

Nana Kuoro Kuri Buktie Limann IV a member of the Council of State and the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, who presided called on traditional leaders to join hands with the national malaria programme to ensure that the country was free of malaria.

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